As told by @Ikechhi on twitter
I used to visit this primary school some years ago because my girlfriend at the time worked there. She taught the Primary 3 class and I’ll often go with snacks during break to gist, joke. I’d also remind her that those little pervs were probably staring at her ass every time she faces d board. It was a small school so after my first couple of visits, most staff knew who I was. I’d sometimes hang around in the classroom from break till school over so we could leave together.
Anyway, after a few days, I discovered that there was a situation in the classroom. There was this really big boy, too big for someone in primary 3 and was always picking on this other lanky boy. The big boy would sometimes slap the back of the lanky boy’s head and run away laughing. Or he’d pour water on him from a water bottle, hide his pencil or crayon, things like that. The lanky boy would report to my then girlfriend who would either punish Big Boy or tell him to return whatever he had taken from Lanky Boy.
It really was no big deal. I mean, if you’re a primary school teacher, you’ll probably see so much of this that it doesn’t seem noteworthy anymore. But newbie like me, I was fascinated by this seemingly endless cycle of bully Lanky Boy had to endure on almost a daily basis.
So this continued for about two weeks till one day, Lanky Boy was colouring during break when Big Boy came behind and knocked him on the head (it was either a knock or a slap, I can’t really remember now) but what happened next shocked me. Lanky Boy quickly spun around and drew a line on Big Boy’s shirt with his water colour brush. Big Boy immediately grabbed his shirt and the whole classroom erupted with noise and my girlfriend called the both of them and told them to kneel before the class. That was the only thing that saved Lanky Boy that afternoon.
At some point later that same day, my girlfriend left to get chalk from the headmistress’s office and one of the pupils started talking to his friends about how Lanky Boy was set to receive the beating of his life. It turned out that Big Boy had told Lanky Boy that he would deal with him to which Lanky Boy had replied that he couldn’t do anything to him and one thing led to another and they finally decided they would fight it out.
When my girlfriend returned, I contemplated on whether to tell her or not. But then I thought,
- I don’t work here.
- They’re both boys, and every guy knows that before adulthood and all the bs. that comes with it, fighting was the activity that helped you build character (lol apart from your parents’ flogging). I mean, if you win, you get everybody’s respect and walked with your shoulders high. You lose, you either disappear in shame or vow to get stronger and come for revenge. Either way, you’re never the same afterwards.
I really felt sorry for Lanky Boy though. This was clearly a bad one for him.
Anyway, when I came to the school the next day, my girlfriend wasn’t in her classroom and after inquiring from a teacher, I found out she was at the headmistress’ office. I waited in the class, and few minutes later she came in with the two boys. Lanky Boy’s shirt had lost some buttons and he was sweating a lot. Big Boy’s shirt was very dirty, he had a cut lower lip and his cheek looked like it was a bit swollen. It turned out that both boys had gone to the back of the school to fight during break, and Lanky Boy had beaten Big Boy blue-black, and had fed him sand.
A teacher had seen them and dragged them to the headmistress’ office from where girlfriend was summoned. After some scolding for not being ‘vigilant’, the headmistress asked her to take Big Boy to the First Aid room. Before leaving, girlfriend told Lanky Boy to kneel before the class, while she took Big Boy for treatment. She’d come back to properly deal with him later.
You should have seen the way Lanky Boy knelt, the pride. You know there are two ways of kneeling; there’s the one where you’re kind of resting on your calf and the one where you’re kneeling upright. He was as upright as a metre rule and the look on his face was priceless; he wasn’t smiling or anything like that, in fact, frowning, but you know that kind of frown that says ‘now you all will show me some respect!’ If the circumstances were right, I might have even given him a ‘chop knuckle’ but…
So recently, I got to thinking about that event and I wondered how long and hard Lanky Boy must have thought about his situation before deciding he’d had enough. He was fed up and wouldn’t take any more of the bullying. He must have been scared when Big Boy challenged him to the fight and he could have apologized out of fear, and continued enduring the daily humiliation but he faced his fear head-on, and that is the attitude we should all take up as we go on.
We need to stop being afraid of taking on those Big things we have always longed to accomplish…making that big move, taking that course, starting that business, reading that book, talking to that person, travelling to that place. Fear makes those tasks seem so disproportionately huge that you decide you cannot do it and give up. But if you muster the courage to start, you sometimes discover that it really isn’t as difficult as you had imagined it to be. And even if you fail, you’ll have the experience and more confidence to try again until you succeed. And by the way, how would you know if you never tried?
Always remember, someone less qualified is doing what you dream to do, only because they had the courage to start.